Location, Location, Location – isn’t just important when buying real estate. It’s critical when choosing a place for shooting video or pictures with a camera. This is what creates the stage for the impression you want to convey whether it’s professional or casual, serious or fun, etc., the location sets the mood and atmosphere of what you are going to present.
Often times, a location may seem perfect and then when you go to shoot there, you find that the airport is nearby and loud planes fly over every 15 minutes or a conference has a loud air conditioner or you can hear the restroom every time someone flushes.
So what should you consider when you need pick a location for your shoot? Here are some suggestions to help you make the right choices to get the best results.
Observe your location at the right time. Try to go to the location at the same day of the week and the time of day you’d like to shoot there. Locations can change depending on the day. Lighting, traffic and noise, visitors, etc. will vary throughout the day. It’s very important to listen to the noises to consider whether or not they will enhance or interfere with the quality of your audio.
If you’re considering shooting a video outside, lighting constantly changes, so planning the best time of day for your shoot can determine the visual quality. Full sun doesn’t look the best on a face, and glare may surprise you when the sun hits light-colored surfaces and causes the camera lens to compensate, underexposing the shot. Even partial sun can cause problems because of the high contrast. Locations that are fully shaded or overcast day often provide the best environment.
Whether inside or outside, make sure you have plenty of room to set up all of the equipment and enough room to get the shots you need. Small or awkward spaces may look great, but not be functional. Typically, you need to space your talent out at least three to six feet from any wall. The camera crew will need to be at least three to six feet in front of them. The more talents in the shot the further the camera may need to back. Make sure there is enough room. Sure, your crew could shoot with a wide angle lens, but such lenses tend to exaggerate features and distort the image which may not be desirable.
Prepare for power. Does the location you are considering have any power available to re-charge batteries or power any needed lighting for the shoot. Even if it does, make sure it can handle any additional load. Check where the breaker box is located, just in case you need to use it.
You may know of several great locations, but who owns them or has control of them? If you or your company doesn’t own it, you will need to get permission to use a location. Some locations even require you to get permits before you can film. If you take a chance of not doing so, you will be back to square one losing time and money if your production is interrupted and stopped because you were caught. If you are doing something loud or you have a large group coming that will take up a lot of parking, it’s always a good idea to make friends with neighboring locations. At minimum, consider sending them a notice or at least posting notices explaining what you are filming.
When you are looking for a location, write down all of the details because you will inevitably need to refer back to something. Take lots of pictures for reference and to help you visually plan. Draw a location map if you and others are not familiar with the area and even bring a compass if it will help. Google Maps and Google Earth work really well to help you define where you are located at.
Today, so many videos are shot on green screen. In some situations, this may be the best location to shoot, but too often productions fall back on a green screen because it’s quick and perhaps less costly than real location production. As you have just read, shooting on location has challenges, but it can really make difference which will make your video standout on the internet in this green screen saturated world.
As part of our location production planning, CCI discusses goals with clients and finds the best location to tell each client’s story. We also do site surveys as part of our pre-production process to make sure each location will work properly. Our site survey includes everything mentioned above. We even consider the environment and plan for everything from rain, to salty air, to moisture, to super cold or hot weather. Over the years, we have found that good planning reduces shoot times, lowers costs and gives us the best chance of getting a great shot. Following this process also makes creating and communicating a visual message a more enjoyable experience for our clients.
If you have questions about a location for you next shoot contact Robin Champagne at CCI. (321) 783-5232. www.cci321.com.